Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory. 1 Timothy 3:14–16, ESV

The best place for a Christian to be is at the Cross, before the Saviour, in complete agreement with God that without His saving Grace he or she would be on their way to Hell, and without His sustaining Grace he or she would lose all ability or desire for His godliness. In fact, Christians are in a great deal of trouble when they think otherwise. Yes, we are commanded to obey God and to seek His Holiness, but we are completely unable to obey Him in the Spirit; neither are we able to seek His Holiness unless He first gives us the Grace to do these things. In fact, if we try to do either in our own abilities, we will fail miserably and find ourselves in an impossible situation of trying to attain favor with God by our own efforts in our own ability. This is a form of legalism, which leads only to frustration and disillusionment.

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Vancouver schools’ new LGBTTQ+ policy includes gender-free pronouns xe, xem and xyr

CNS News reports:

The Vancouver (British Columbia) Board of Education has approved a sweeping new policy for accommodating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit, queer, questioning and “all sexual and gender identities,” including the creation of three pronouns, replacing masculine and feminine with xe, xem and xyr (pronounced ze, zem and zur).

Two spirit is an Aboriginal term which means having both feminine and masculine spirits. It’s not limited to gender expression or sexuality, but encompasses them both while incorporating a spiritual element. It’s a standalone identity, not an Aboriginal term for gay lesbian.

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A ‘gay’ hamburger? Burger King selling ‘The Proud Whopper’ to celebrate sin

Christian News Network reports:

Burger King has come out of the closet in full support of the homosexual lifestyle, and is now even naming a hamburger to prove just how ‘proud’ it is of the sin.

The fast food chain is launching what it is calling “The Proud Whopper,” which is enclosed in a rainbow-colored wrapper with the inscription: “We are all the same inside.”

The burger in its colorful packaging will be sold through July 3 at one Burger King restaurant located in San Francisco, a city known for its celebration and promotion of homosexuality and where sexually-transmitted diseases well exceed the national average.

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The Pope’s different version of salvation

My Word Like Fire writes:

On June 23rd, Kenneth Copeland, James Robison, John Arnott [Toronto Blessing] and their wives met with the Pope. On June 30th Copeland declared at the Southwest Believers Convention, “The protest is over,” meaning Protestants no longer have differences with Catholics in understanding how people gain eternal salvation.

In a video message played at the convention the Pope said, “And this is a miracle; the miracle of unity has begun.”

Yet, June 25th, two days after the Pope met with Copeland, Robison, and Arnott, the Pope declared a very Catholic understanding of salvation.

According to Catholic News Service, “Pope Francis described as ‘dangerous’ the temptation to believe that one can have ‘a personal, direct, immediate relationship with Jesus Christ without communion with and the mediation of the church.’”

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Eight black pastors whose net worth is 200 times greater than people in their local communities

One prominent pastor cited by the Atlanta Blackstar is prosperity preacher T.D. Jakes. Jakes’ net worth is reportedly 18 million, which is in stark contrast to the $57,000 average median annual income earned by the people who live in the community where he pastors. According to article, Jakes resides in a 1.7 million mansion in suburban Dallas.

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And now, little children, abide in Him

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. 1 John 2:28–29, ESV

There are two types of people in the world. There are God’s children (genuine Christians) and everyone else. One of the reasons I love to read the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John and Revelation is that John, the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 21:7), wrote very profound words that have no gray areas. Of course he wrote as the Spirit breathed these words through him, but God used this man’s entire makeup in that process. John was very pastoral, but he was also a Christian apologist of the highest order. He was one the three Apostles who made up the inner circle closest to our Lord during His earthly ministry. Before Jesus called him to be his disciple, he was a disciple of John the Baptist along with Andrew, Peter’s brother. Jesus called him and his brother James, the Sons of Thunder. He had great faith, but like most of us, he could get full of himself and focus inward instead of humble and lined up with our Lord’s will alone.

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Hold fast what you have so that no one may seize your crown

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.” Revelation 3:7, ESV

One of the big errors of our time in the visible Church of the 21st Century is the misguided concept that truth is subjective or relative. In other words, truth is what you want it be. This concept is, of course, simply borrowed from the world, which loves it. While I do not contend that I know when our Lord will return, I do know that it will be at the end of this age prior to the age to come.

I know that He has been given a people for Himself from the Father. I know that His blood purchased them at the cross. I know that those whom He saves must live in this sin-sick world in order to be sanctified, to mature in Christ, and for their lives to glorify God. These truths, and so many more from God’s Word, are not subjective.

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Live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 1 Peter 4:1–2, ESV

Even though genuine Christians are new creations and have been purchased out of the world through the redemptive work of Christ on the Cross, as they attempt to live godly lives in the temporal, they will come under tremendous pressure to compromise by reverting back to the fleshly way of dealing with life. This way of reacting to circumstances, both good and bad, has emotions as its catalyst motivated by a form of self-righteousness that is manifested through self-exaltation and self-protection. Here we witness ourselves reacting to the good and bad in a way that is little different than we did prior to our salvation. We may even attempt to justify our actions by proclaiming that we are only seeking justice. Pride is the culprit behind this and when we stumble into these sins it is because we are not spirit-filled and, therefore, not humble.

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Do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?

While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss.” Luke 22:47–48, ESV

When the dogs and swine come to harass and distract it is not pleasant, but, by the grace of God, I can bear it. However, when someone approaches this ministry as if a friend only to be discovered later to be a deceiver, it is a difficult pill to swallow. When one breaks the bread of the Word of God with us then turns on us it is a hard thing to bear. Why? Deceitfulness is as the word suggests, it is the process of deception, for whatever purpose, that causes trusts to be broken and fills us with anguish and grief.

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Apostate pastor’s pro-homosexual sermon earns him special trip to White House

Christian News Network reports:

An apostate former Southern Baptist pastor, who endorsed homosexuality in a recent sermon, has been invited to attend a ‘gay pride’ reception at the White House with President Obama.

As previously reported, Danny Cortez leads New Heart Community Church in southern California. Earlier this year, Cortez surprised his Baptist congregation by declaring that he has accepted a pro-homosexual position.

“This is a huge step for a Southern Baptist church!!” Cortez ecstatically wrote in a letter to a Patheos blogger. “So now, we will accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship. We will choose to remain the body of Christ and not cast judgment.”

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World Vision undertaking internal reform after support of homosexuality?

Christian News Network reports:

World Vision tested its boundaries three months ago when it announced it would allow its employees to be in so-called homosexual ‘marriages’. The policy, however, was short-lived; the relief group reversed it within 48 hours after supporters threatened to pull donations.

In the past, World Vision has requested that it be known as a Christian humanitarian organization, not necessarily an evangelical one, because many on staff are not from an evangelical background. But now, in the wake of the controversy, the board of the $1 billion relief group appears to be showing signs of wanting to reform.

Most telling: World Vision is asking board members to formally affirm a statement that marriage is between a man and a woman. And new appointments to the World Vision board include some well-known names from the evangelical community.

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Bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ

οἶδα γὰρ ὅτι τοῦτό μοι ἀποβήσεται εἰς σωτηρίαν διὰ τῆς ὑμῶν δεήσεως καὶ ἐπιχορηγίας τοῦ πνεύματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ κατὰ τὴν ἀποκαραδοκίαν καὶ ἐλπίδα μου, ὅτι ἐν οὐδενὶ αἰσχυνθήσομαι ἀλλʼ ἐν πάσῃ παρρησίᾳ ὡς πάντοτε καὶ νῦν μεγαλυνθήσεται Χριστὸς ἐν τῷ σώματί μου, εἴτε διὰ ζωῆς εἴτε διὰ θανάτου. Philippians 1:19–20, NA28

for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ according to the earnest expectation of my hope that in nothing I will be put to shame, but with all courage  as always even now Christ will be magnified in my body whether through life or through death. Philippians 1:19–20, translated from the NA28 Greek text

What is this “bountiful supply” Paul is talking about and how can we “tap” into it ourselves as we stand firm in these Laodicean days? Let’s see…

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“Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. Revelation 3:11, ESV

knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation. 2 Peter 3:3–4, ESV

It is one thing to say, “Come soon Lord Jesus!” and quite another thing to live as if you mean it. There are some today that teach we should live this life with our focus on the here and now rather than eternity. Why? This is to create a better world or make this world a better place. However, I also tire of those who treat eschatology much like the world handles conspiracy theories always looking for the right combination of “signs” that our Lord’s return is imminent.

I used to do that myself, but I do not do that very much, if at all, anymore. Why? My focus is on living this life for the glory of God and that means I focus on my relationship with my Lord first and from that flows my relationships with everyone else. Yes, the sad shape of the visible Church grieves me and, to me, this is the most telling sign that our Lord’s return is imminent.

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Christians and the resurrection

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 1 Corinthians 15:35, ESV

Eternity is the true reality, not this physical life in the temporal. At the heart of our Christian faith is our blessed hope of a bodily resurrection. Many mistakenly believe that all Christians who die are given their eternal body right then, but the Bible is clear that our eternal bodies are resurrected by God from our physical bodies that we have now. There will be an interim between our death and the resurrection before we are given our Resurrection Bodies, but this post is about what will be after our Lord returns in victory and glory.

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Count it all joy

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:1–4, ESV

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33, ESV

While the emergents and other forms of relativistic Christianity attempt to refocus Christians to this present age, we are clearly taught throughout the New Testament that what awaits us after we leave this life is that for which we should really be preparing. In the world, we will have tribulation (θλιψιν) (John 16:33). Θλιψιν symbolically means grievous affliction or distress that applies pressure or burden upon the spirit. Θλιψιν is used to give the picture of one being crushed. At the same time we are given these warnings about our life here as resident aliens, we are also given encouragement beyond measure.

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Meriam Ibrahim re-arrested in Sudan just day after being freed

According to Stand Up For The Truth:

A mother who was freed from death row for refusing to renounce Christianity has been re-arrested just a day later while trying to leave Sudan, her lawyer told NBC News on Tuesday. Meriam Ibrahim, 27, was “very happy” after an appeals court on Monday overturned a death sentence imposed because she married a Christian man and was alleged to have turned her back on Islam. But lawyer Elshareef Ali Mohammed said a group of 50 security force personnel arrested her during an angry confrontation at the airport in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday.

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Bad news for the big bang: secular scientists claim universe shouldn’t exist

Christian News Network reports:

Nearly two years after the highly-publicized discovery of the elusive ‘God Particle,’ scientists have determined that the current Big Bang model cannot account for the existence of the universe.

As previously reported, scientists in Europe announced in 2012 that they had detected the Higgs boson, then confirmed their findings last year. The Higgs boson, also known as “the God particle,” was widely heralded as a key to understanding the origins of the universe.

However, in a major setback to the secular Big Bang theory, scientists with King’s College in London announced this month that Higgs boson physics cannot account for the universe’s existence. The scientists came to this conclusion after modeling the hypothetical conditions of the universe immediately after the Big Bang.

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With what has God blessed His chosen in His Beloved?

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. Romans 8:28–30, ESV

The unregenerate cannot conceive of a religion unless it is fully entwined with the exercise of free will as an expression of devotion or belief. Genuine Christianity is not a religion if that is how religion is defined. Authentic Christianity consists of God’s work in the hearts of those whom He gave and drew to Christ.

The Holy Spirit regenerated them at the will of the Father as they heard the gospel thereby enabling them to believe and repent. From that time forward they serve their Saviour and God as His disciples. Their divine faith, a gift from God, overcomes the world as they obey Him, love Him, and love their brethren. They share their faith with others thereby being obedient disciples whom God uses to bring others into the Kingdom.

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Final goal of gay ‘marriage’ is to destroy the institution of marriage

According to CNSNews.com:

Congressional Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) said he agreed that the ultimate goal of homosexual “marriage” is to destroy the institution of marriage altogether by diminishing it to whatever type of contract people sign on to and, at the same time, denying the natural right of children to be raised by a mother and a father.

Huelskamp also said the gay “marriage” issue is no longer one of just “tolerance” for same-sex couples, but enforcement by the government to make all Americans, regardless of their religious or moral beliefs, accept gay “marriage” and gay adoption.

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Is the ‘gay gene’ a myth? Scientists say homosexuality impossible to determine by DNA

Christian News Network reports:

The results of a comprehensive scientific study released earlier this year suggest that homosexuality cannot be directly traced to a ‘gay gene,’ but is instead dependent on a variety of factors, including environmental and social influences.

Pro-homosexual activists have long claimed that homosexuality and abnormal “sexual orientations” are primarily caused by genetic factors. They argue that individuals with a hereditary “gay gene” are predisposed toward same-sex attractions and thus unable to appreciate traditional marriages.

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How can we discern the Lord’s will?

Παρακαλῶ οὖν ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, διὰ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ παραστῆσαι τὰ σώματα ὑμῶν θυσίαν ζῶσαν ἁγίαν εὐάρεστον τῷ θεῷ, τὴν λογικὴν λατρείαν ὑμῶν· καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον. Romans 12:1–2, NA28

Therefore, I urge you brothers through the compassions of God to present your bodies as living, holy sacrifices, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual service. And do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may discern the will of God, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1–2, translated from the NA28 Greek text

Both the Apostle John and the Apostle Paul used light and darkness in analogies pertaining to spiritual life and spiritual death. For instance, in John 1:4, 5 the Apostle says, “ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων· καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν.” Or, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men; and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not grasp it.”

In order to lay the foundation for this discussion on discerning the Lord’s will, it is imperative that we understand what is being said in these two verses. First, the “Him” in v4 refers back to ὁ λόγος or “the Word” from v. 1. This is, of course, our Lord Jesus Christ. In v. 4, we learn that in Him was ζωὴ or zōē, “life.” This ζωὴ is not simply the life we all have here and now, but was φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων or the “the light of men.” What does that mean? This light comes from God and brings to this dark world true knowledge, moral purity, and the light that shows the very presence of God. Finally, notice that this light shines into the darkness, but the darkness does not “receive, admit, or grasp” it. Those who discern the will of God are in His light. Those who cannot are in darkness.

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Thus you will recognize them by their fruits

Μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς ἀπατάτω κενοῖς λόγοις· διὰ ταῦτα γὰρ ἔρχεται ἡ ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας. μὴ οὖν γίνεσθε συμμέτοχοι αὐτῶν· ἦτε γάρ ποτε σκότος, νῦν δὲ φῶς ἐν κυρίῳ· ὡς τέκνα φωτὸς περιπατεῖτε — ὁ γὰρ καρπὸς τοῦ φωτὸς ἐν πάσῃ ἀγαθωσύνῃ καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ἀληθείᾳ — δοκιμάζοντες τί ἐστιν εὐάρεστον τῷ κυρίῳ, καὶ μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς ἀκάρποις τοῦ σκότους, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε. Ephesians 5:6–11, NA28

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do no be joint partakers with them; for you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the the fruit of light is in all that is good and right and true), proving what is will pleasing to the Lord. And to not participate in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. Ephesians 5:6–11, translated from the NA28 Greek text

In the passage above is the the word “fruit.” It is a translation of the Greek word καρπὸς or karpos. This word appears some sixty-six times in the New Testament. In most cases, it is used in reference to the the fruit of plants as in Matthew 21:19 or the produce of the earth (James 5:7, 18). However, its extended meaning in the New Testament is one in which we should pay special attention as well as to its opposite, ἀκάρποις or akarpois, which is translated in this passage as “unfruitful.” In this form, ἀκάρποις is the dative, plural of ἄκαρπος or akarpos. The dative plural simply means that this part of the phrase is an indirect object of the action of the sentence. In any case, this may be more significant than it first appears.

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